Poultry Reports

Poultry Council Report November 2023

  1. Policy proposals for approval by National Council 


  1. Market Report  

IFA Poultry Committee have been focusing on protecting the farmer’s margin.  The Irish Poultry industry has had significant increases in input costs on farm and for processing plants and egg packers.  According to the CSO data, poultry prices have increased by 5.8% over the last 12months and the price of eggs has increased 18%. There is significant demand on the market for chicken and eggs at the present time and occasionally shelves are very light for product, in particular for eggs. Recently, due to pressure from the retail forum, supermarkets are being asked by government to reduce the price of food to the consumer. IFA are giving a clear message to the retailers that any reductions they may make on fresh produce must not be taken from the farm gate price for fresh chicken or eggs which would negatively affect the farmers margin.  

The Committee are engaging with retailers to ensure they are fully aware that costs have not come back much to date in relation to on farm costs and that producers are yet to receive the full amount originally asked of the market. Prices have increased on the shelf to consumers but there was significant delay in some cases in returning this to farmers. This highlights the need for a food ombudsperson with statutory powers of enforcement. This is critical to controlling the power of a small number of retailers that have reduced the viability of poultry Irish farmers. 

According to the European Commission, the latest average price for broiler breast meat is €5.52/kg carcass weight (back 20c since our last report in July). While average EU egg price is €1.95/ dozen for all classes of eggs (Irish free range egg prices reported to the commission are €2.04/kg wholesale).  

  1. Activity since last National Council 
  • Continuing to grow the IFA National Poultry WhatsApp group to share relevant information and updates to poultry producers and assist with knowledge transfer.  
  • The Committee, led by Chairman Nigel Sweetnam, are in ongoing engagement with the retailers. Over the past number of months, we have met with the retailers to discuss farmers margins and other market developments & changes including changes in production systems, sustainability, and viability.  
  • We have had a very successful trial run with the Biochar and converted 8tonne of poultry litter to 1.5 tonne of biochar with a commercial value of up to €3000. 
  • Members of the committee led by the Chairman have been working on a project to deliver digestors that are interested in using poultry litter around the country and have discussed this with the Minister of Agriculture at the Ploughing Championship to gather support for the project having embarked on 3 sites in Munster. 
  • We are delighted to have been involved with the Agricultural consortium with Teagasc which has led to the creation of a new farm apprenticeship scheme with 40 places for poultry.  This is a very welcome initiative for farmers & we are currently investigating industry support for farmers.  
  • Ongoing engagement with Teagasc and further meetings to occur with Professor Frank O’ Meara to seek additional funding for the sector to conduct research and provide additional services for our poultry sector.   
  • Continuous engagement with processors and egg packers on pricing and other group relevant issues.  
  • Engagement with department, AHI, EPA, IEA, MII, Campylobacter forum and Bord Bia. 
  • Meeting with retailers on poultry specific issues relating to price,  
  • Ongoing investigation of the production of biochar from poultry litter and its potential to increase artificial fertiliser potency by between 200-300%.  
  1. EU/COPA developments 
  • European Food Safety Authority issued welfare recommendations for broilers and laying hens on farm in March this year. EFSA have recommended reducing stocking density of broilers to 11kg/m2 and for layer hens to 4 birds per m2. If implemented, the recommendations would decimate our poultry sector as we know it. There has not been an economic or environmental assessment completed yet on the back of the welfare recommendations. Therefore, We have been lobbying on this matter with Copa and the revision of the welfare regulations appears to have been put on hold as a result of this. 
  • We have engaged with Avec, the European poultry lobby group on several matters and they have invited us to engage more with them and consider joining the group.  
  • End of cages – presentation of study’s conclusions. Copa-Cogeca have conducted an impact assessment on the end of cages and the potential impact associated with the change for agriculture and associated transition periods. Should this come into immediate effect by 2025, its expected that circa 3% of EU egg production would cease and up to 37% of pork meat would cease.  
  • Day old chicks – engaging with Copa-Cogeca to find a suitable and sustainable solution to address this topic.  
  • Avian Influenza update: EU vaccination programme – “In the context of avian flu, specific rules for vaccination will be introduced when used as a measure to control or prevent the disease. This will allow safe movements of animals and products from establishments and zones where vaccination has taken place” Stella Kyriakides.  

  1. Upcoming issues 
  • IFA to circulate a poultry survey to its members in the coming weeks to establish information on the age profile of the sector, the percentage of natural succession within the sector, to develop a deeper understanding on TAMS and how useful it is on farm.  
  • Actively engaging and working to ensure fair price is being returned to poultry producers.  
  • Ongoing investigation of the production of biochar from poultry litter and its potential to increase artificial fertiliser potency by between 200-300%.  
  • Seeking additional funding to provide research facilities through Teagasc with industry support for the sector.  

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